Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review: The Hunter's Moon by O.R. Melling

Published 2005 (Originally in 1993)

Genre: YA / Fantasy / Faerie / Contemporary 

This is an older release from '05 and even earlier - it was originally published in 1993 by HarperCollins Canada, which explains the lack of digital technology in the book. I chose to read this book because I enjoy reading novels that cross the paths of young, contemporary adults and the faeries of old mythology.

From Amazon: 
Gwen travels to Ireland to visit her cousin Findabhair, expecting a summer of backpacking, late nights, and the usual road trip adventures. But when Findabhair is kidnapped by the King of Faerie, Gwen must race to save her cousin before the rise of the Hunter’s Moon, when the fairies need a human sacrifice. 

What I liked:
  • Amazing use of Irish lore
    Gwen travels around Ireland to search for her cousin, who's been spirited away by the faeries, so we get to experience Ireland's beautiful geography, the quirks of magical sites, and their mythological significance. O.R. Melling has a B.A. in Celtic Studies and Philosophy and an M.A. in Medieval Irish History, and it felt like a lot of research went into writing this book. I fell in love with Irish lore. In addition to faeries, there is also a witch and a leprechaun who live on the edges of the human and faerie worlds. 
  • Contrast of old and new
    Throughout the story, we see instances of how the old, mythological, distinctly-Irish Ireland meets the new, anglicized, and urbanized Ireland. The general message here is that one can embrace both. A lot of the rural characters in the book acknowledge the faerie world out of custom by leaving treats for the faeries on their windowsills.
  • Gwen becomes a badass
    Chalk it up to being pissed off at being dragged around Ireland if you'd like, but by the end of the novel, Gwen has gone from a shy, insecure girl to a flirtatious warrior. I think her character was always a flirtatious warrior inside, but her insecurity about being chubby held her back and dampened her charisma. She learns to channel her inner strength - she has to, in order to save her cousin. 

What I didn't like:
  • Story lags in the middle
    At some point Gwen is just being tugged around by various forces greater than her, a different one each time. The stakes don't really change; the story doesn't really escalate. It feels like the middle is chock-full of random adventures that don't really do much for the overall point of the story. 
  • Insta-love between Findabhair and the Faerie King 
    The time window between their kidnap and the climax of the story ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks, max. Findabhair enjoyed getting kidnapped by the King? Fine, maybe there's instant chemistry and hotness between them. However, by the end of these two weeks, Findabhair acts all solemn and serious like she's been married to the King for decades. This is disturbing. I had the suspicion that the King may have drugged her, but it turned out to be true love.


    Overall, I would have considered this a great faerie book in the 90s. Since then, there have been other faerie series that have come along that I enjoyed more, such as 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison and even the controversial Tithe (Modern Faerie Tales #1) by Holly Black. I see The Hunter's Moon as more of a pleasant tour bus ride around Ireland than a manically-paced roller coaster ride. It's good, but it doesn't knock my socks off.

    This book does seem to be more popular among pre-teens - think sixth grade and middle school. I recommend this book if you want to dip your toes into Irish mythology, but not if you want a particularly suspenseful story.

    My rating: 

    The Hunter's Moon by O.R. Melling on:

    Thanks for reading. What are some great faerie novels that you've read?


  1. Gwen as the main character sounds great but don't know about the instalove

    1. Yeah, the instalove is ridiculous. Fortunately the instalove character isn't the main character. :P Thank you for reading!